Isaura Gonzalez : I am a Latina leader and Latina entrepreneur
I am a Latina leader and Latina entrepreneur
By Mirela Sula
Isaura was conceived in Cuba, born in Spain and “Made in the USA”. She is the proud mother of four gifted children all under the age of 11. “They are the reason why my heart beats” Isaura says. Isaura wears many hats; “Some I like to wear, others I have to wear”. She seems to be a leader from birth, a person who understands how standing out in her personal and business life is crucial for the success of others. Isaura is determined, courageous, loving, intelligent, creative, seriously funny, and loves to smile even during the most difficult of times. She is by nature an extrovert and loves to connect with others, “but I need my moments of quiet and silence to reconnect myself and nurture my core” says Isaura. She always comes from a place of love with others because that is where her strength comes from. But one big priority for her is education and she continually emphasises how much she loves learning. I met Isaura during her trip in London after her speaking engagement at the Events of Champions. Her story is so powerful and her message is so authentic. I am sure that many readers will resonate with her message. Isaura will also be one of our speakers at Global Woman Summit.
It seems that you are a woman living your dream – how has this dream changed through years?
It is interesting that you ask about living my dream. I have always seen it as accomplishing my goals that I set forth for myself. I believe that goals are what makes dreams realities. Understanding what my purpose in life is really sets the tone for my life. I wouldn’t say that my dreams have changed, rather that they have shifted. They shifted when my husband almost died. They shifted when I became a homeowner for the first time, a mother for the first time and the second and the third and the fourth time. (Laughter). They shifted when I took my part-time private practice to full-time and when I accepted that being an entrepreneur was the journey that was needed to make my life more complete with my children. And now with my newest company, Latina Mastermind, teaching others how to create their financial legacies through empowerment and making more money and accomplishing more goals in a shorter period of time.
The biggest shift came when my uncle at the age of 84 had an aortic dissection that eventually set the motion for him to pass away. It was those three days sleeping on three hard chairs by his side that my perspective and purpose gained greater clarity. It was the moments of plenty of alone time I had with him as he laid unconscious, holding his hand and talking to him that brought me peace and greater understanding of the sacrifices, not only that he made but my mother and aunt in order to bring us to the United States from Cuba. Moments before he passed away, I whispered to him that all the sacrifices that he had made had not been in vain, that his sacrifices of giving up his country, his comfort, his money, to create a better life for us, had in essence saved thousands of lives through the work that my mom, dad, and my aunt had done. I promised that those sacrifices would never go in vain and that I would continue to use the gifts that God has given me and my family had provided for me to share with the world. At that moment, it was clear that knowledge had no value if not shared with others and that my knowledge needed to be leveraged to go from one to many and share my message of empowerment, Latina empowerment, and financial legacy with the world, especially Latinas all over the globe.
What has influenced your path and success in life?
Being Latina, I have many influences over the course of my life. Primarily, what my family gave up to give me freedom and an education of my choice was always in the forefront of my mind and has been a steady light and guide on my journey and my path. Certain characteristics have influenced the success in my life, such as determination. I have always been determined to achieve my goal and whatever I have set my mind to it has been accomplished. My faith has been a principle factor in my success in life. Walking with faith, knowing that things are happening because they need to happen and questioning not why are they happening but rather what am I supposed to learn from this moment in my life, helps ground me. Also to understand myself at a deeper level, and my relationships, both personal and in business as well as the world around me. There are lessons around us everywhere and I try to capitalise on those lessons as much as possible. Having a strong faith has also influenced my path. Optimism is a critical foundation of my being that illuminates my thinking and my way of being.
Walking with faith, knowing that things are happening because they need to happen and questioning not why are they happening but rather what am I supposed to learn from this moment in my life, helps ground me
Who has helped you to become the person you are today?
There are lessons I have learned from many people in my life. There are so many different facets that make me that it is hard to say that one person has helped me to become who I am today. The courage that my family had to leave everything they had behind them and move forward with conviction and steadfastness, has helped me to become who I am today. My mother has been a big influence in who I have become. She has a strong sense of optimism and accomplishment. Failure was really not an option in her life. My aunt, my mother’s older sister and who she is reminds me that being simple doesn’t mean you are a simple person and that generosity comes in many forms. My brother is always lighting that competitive spirit within me. Last but not least my husband for unleashing my silliness, and my children for letting me strive to be a better person for them and the world I serve.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced in life to be where you are now?
Being Latina in a country that still doesn’t understand the power and beauty that our culture embodies is challenging, so education becomes super important. The biggest challenge is constantly proving my abilities because of my heritage and my language. It took a long time to understand the value that I offer by being bicultural and bilingual. Or that I am a great psychologist and businesswoman not because I am Latina but I am a great psychologist and businesswoman AND I am Latina! I don’t view these challenges or struggles as that, I see them as stories that grow my experience.
Do you consider yourself lucky, do you make your own luck, or does luck come and find you?
I do not necessarily consider myself lucky. I consider myself blessed and that opportunities are placed before me and it is my choice whether to accept those opportunities or not. Sometimes you have to make your way to opportunities and ask because if you ask for nothing you get nothing! You would be surprised what happens and how your world changes when you begin to ask the right questions and for the right things.
You would be surprised what happens and how your world changes when you begin to ask the right questions and for the right things.
You are also a mother, with your beautiful family – how difficult is it for a woman to follow her career path and have time for the family?
Again, because my family gave up everything coming from Cuba to give me everything, I did things a little different. I knew that the career path I wanted was going to entail a lot, if not all of my energy to succeed in the way I wanted to succeed. So I knew that I would attack my studies first and work on them so that I could then dedicate my life to serve in the career that I chose and then be able to dedicate time to my family.
I should have done a little more research on opening up a private practice because it does take a lot of my evening time from the children. However, I make sure that I have separate time for them with Sundays being protected to spend time with them. They travel with me whenever I can take them and having home-schooled them for two years I could bring them to my office. I learned early on that being a woman and a mother does not mean that I have to apologise for those roles. Owning my business also has allowed me to set my schedule and to be there for those important moments and to bake, and create with them for their important moments.
What motivates you to wake in the morning and be optimistic for the future?
Life! Life motivates me; The newness of everyday. The chance to improve what I got wrong the day before or improve my circumstances and those of others. I am a very optimistic person by nature so nothing really stops me, except myself at times. I am solution-oriented not problem-focused. Life is like a puzzle, you need to know which piece fits where and sometimes it takes a while to see the bigger picture. Understanding that the picture sometimes shifts is also crucial and not resisting the change but walking into it with faith makes whatever comes your way a lot easier to handle. Latinos in general are a very optimistic culture. We have many sayings to remind us how to take the perceived negative and generate a positive learning lesson from those experiences.
I definitely have moments that were challenging. Being told that I may never have children because I had surgery where the Doctor removed most of my ovaries, without notifying me before or after the surgery, was hard at a younger time in my life.
What were the darkest moments of your life and how did you managed that time?
I think this is a matter of perception. I definitely have moments that were challenging. Being told that I may never have children because I had surgery where the Doctor removed most of my ovaries, without notifying me before or after the surgery, was hard at a younger time in my life. To sit with my uncle while he was dying, knowing I would never see his smile or hear his name come from his lips, the day my husband collapsed from respiratory arrest in front of me while I was eight months pregnant with our second child, and saving his life. Then sitting for over six hours not knowing whether he was alive or not in the other part of the hospital, was certainly challenging. Receiving radiation as I got pregnant with my daughter and not knowing whether she would be born to term or if the radiation had damaged her brain. Knowing that in essence as I took the pregnancy for the nine months to term had its moments of reflection to say the least.
More recently, my mother’s diagnosis of stage 0 breast cancer. Her strength as she was going through this for me and encouraging me and reminding me that I was here to be of service to the world and to quote her “No matter what happens to me, you don’t stop what you were meant to do. You go through with what your plans are.” It is no wonder where I get my strength, perseverance and optimism from!
What is your biggest aspiration in life?
One of my biggest aspirations is to speak on the world stage to get my message out on financial legacies, and empowerment for the Latino population especially Latinas. To stand in my own power so that I may bring the younger generations to stand in theirs while creating leaders that will stand the test of time.
Another one of my biggest aspirations in life is to pave the way for my children to have the life they would want for themselves and their children. In my business, it would be to create financial legacies for the families of those that chose for me to journey with them in their business and career growth, so that the effort and sacrifices their ancestors made for them are not in vain. I would love to go back to Cuba with my mother and aunt to come full circle for my family! But most importantly to have peace and happiness every day of my life while I share my passion with others.
Who is Isaura?
Isaura has a B.A. and two minors, two Master’s, one in General Experimental and one in Clinical Psychology, and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, and she is an alumni of Harvard University’s Executive Education programme.